Ducks feast upon sacrificial Rams
The Oregon men’s basketball team completed a three-game sweep of visiting Winston-Salem State, UC Davis and Colorado State this weekend as the Ducks won the Basketball Travelers Invitational Tip-Off Tournament at McArthur Court.
And in a weekend that was filled with highlights, senior guard Tajuan Porter broke the school record for career three-pointers on Saturday afternoon as he netted his 283rd basket from behind the arc.
“I’m very excited,” Porter said after the game. “It’s a great accomplishment. There was a lot of pressure and a lot of talk about it. I knew I would get it but I’m ready to move on. It’s my senior year and I just want to win and go out on a good note.”
Porter led all scorers on Saturday as he exploded for 26 points on 5-of-10 shooting from behind the three-point line. Throughout the early season Porter hasn’t been quite as aggressive offensively as he has been in the past, but with the addition of sophomore transfer Malcolm Armstead at the point guard position, Porter could see a lot more action at the two guard.
And with sophomore Garrett Sim contributing at the point guard spot as well, Oregon will likely not have to rely as heavily on Porter to both score and keep Oregon’s offense flowing. And offense was one thing the Ducks were far from lacking this weekend as they beat WSSU 94-43 on Friday night, UC Davis 95-64 on Saturday, and Colorado State 68-53 yesterday.
Sophomore guard Teondre Williams continued to impress as he led the Ducks with 19 points on Friday night, which included two slam dunks over several Ram players that resulted in a fiery reaction from the Mac Court faithful. Williams was also in double figures in Saturday’s win with 11 points, four assists and three rebounds as well as yesterday when he added another 11 against CSU.
“He has a completely changed body, and he keeps getting better,” 13th-year head coach Ernie Kent said of Williams.
It also looked as though Kent is getting closer to settling on a starting rotation, as LeKendric Longmire, Joevan Catron, Michael Dunigan and Porter each started all three games, while Williams started two and sophomore Matt Humphrey started one. Longmire had his strongest game of the early season on Saturday, scoring 16 points and grabbing six boards without committing a foul during his 20 minutes of playing time.
The playing time was still relatively balanced for the Ducks, but with the amount of time spend applying full-court pressure has resulted in a free-flowing rotation for Kent’s squad as fatigue starts to become a factor late in games.
“I think it’s great,” Catron said of the press. “We’re getting back to where Oregon basketball used to be.”
But Porter undoubtedly stole the show this weekend scoring 56 total points, dishing out eight assists and grabbing eight steals en route to being named tournament MVP. But just as important, Porter showed his growth as a leader from the bench where he was constantly standing up and communicating with his teammates on the court.
“He’s going to have a great senior year,” Kent said of Porter. “I’m happy that he’s en route to having another great year.”
Porter said after the game that he is glad the record behind him and refocus on winning.
“We’ve still got a lot of growing to do,” Porter said.
The Ducks will be in action again Saturday, Nov. 21 when they travel for the first time this season as they head north to take on the University of Portland.
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